By Ed Niser, Nashoba Valley Voice
WORCESTER — Following his graduation from Groton-Dunstable Regional High School in 2012, Dunstable native Connor Maguire was recruited to continue his soccer career at Clark University.
In his time at Groton-Dunstable, Maguire was part of the 2011 and 2012 Division 2 state champion boys' soccer teams and he was a state champion in hockey as well.
"Connor came to us very highly recommended by his high school coaches," said Clark University head coach Matt O'Toole.
"We knew when we were able to yield him in the recruiting effort that we had something special for the next four years. We have really been able to put the pieces in place around him the last couple years."
Stepping into a collegiate program and starting as a freshman can be a daunting task for an 18-year-old, but the Dunstable native was well-aware of what he was getting into.
Not only did he embrace the fact that he would be logging significant minutes in his first season, he kept improving.
"I knew right away I had to be at a high level," said Maguire. "After every season, I go over my strengths and weaknesses and look at what I need to work on to come into the next year stronger."
The Cougars had a lot of competition at the goalkeeper position in 2012, but Maguire's athletic ability drew the attention of the Clark coaching staff.
"Even though we had depth at the goalkeeper position, Connor kind of stood above the rest of the guys on our roster," said O'Toole.
"On a consistent basis, he was able to solidify his role as a starting goalkeeper for us. He has done a wonderful job of being a leader at the goalkeeper position."
Maguire earned playing time in his first collegiate game against Becker College and earned the win.
From there, Maguire started 15 of the 16 games he appeared in during his freshman season and has evolved into a three-year starter for the Cougars ever since.
Off the field, Maguire is a biochemistry and molecular biology major and holds a 3.5 grade point average.
"He is dedicated student in the classroom," said O'Toole.
"He has embraced the Divison 3 mentality of athletics. He is a goalkeeper full time during the season and he is academically focused throughout the term. He has been a wonderful role model, not only our team, but as we continue to recruit students to our program and university — he is a standout performer and is able to balance the high demands of being an everyday player and getting accolades throughout the season."
Maguire spent this past summer interning at UMass Medical School studying the ALS protein.
"It was a great experience," said Maguire.
"It was something I wanted to do to explore the research side of my major. I am hoping to go back this summer."
Maguire ranks third in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) this season in total saves with 64 and is an integral piece in the Cougars 14-5 2016 campaign.
In his junior season, Maguire has assumed more of a veteran leadership role.
"I am a very vocal guy," said Maguire. "I am always there to pick the guys up when they make a mistake. You have to be able to put that mistake in the back of your mind and use it as motivation to do better the next time. As a goalkeeper, you have to have a short term memory."
Clark fell to Springfield College in the NEWMAC semifinal, 3-2, in overtime. Maguire was the Cougars' "Man of the Match" with 10 saves.
Maguire was named to the All-NEWMAC Second-Team.